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Waste and Recycling: Getting the Best for Local Households

September 25, 2012 10:41 AM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

Mayor Dave Hodgson Using his Orange-Lidded Recycling Bin

My latest monthly article for the Times and Citizen was on the subject of waste and recycling, following the agreement of new contracts which will enable our waste to be treated more sustainably, while also saving taxpayers money. It also highlighted the forthcoming update to the waste collection routes to make them more efficient while retaining the level of service for all.

Do look out for the leaflet which will be coming through your door, or check the postcode finder at www.bedford.gov.uk/bins - both of which will let you know what your collection day will be from the week beginning October 15th. If you've not already seen it, here's the article I wrote in full:

What a load of rubbish. 80,000 tonnes of it, to be precise, are collected from our doorsteps here in Bedford Borough every year. The way we deal with that waste obviously has major implications for our environment and for our tax bills. So, I'm obviously delighted at the sustainable, money-saving new waste treatment arrangements we've put in place for the next six years.

The contracts inherited from the former County Council saw black bin waste sent to Northampton or Coventry to be thrown in the ground or simply burnt. I have campaigned with colleagues formany years against mass-burn incineration, of the type that the County Council and now US waste giant Covanta have planned to carry out near Stewartby. Incineration is damaging to the environment and, like landfill, is a wasteful way to treat household rubbish. Instead, our black bin waste will be treated via a mechanical and biological treatment (MBT) process which maximises recycling and recovery of materials. Spare capacity at an environmentally-friendly MBT plant in London will be used, and for the next six years these arrangements will be helping us to protect our environment and save taxpayers' money.

Meanwhile, we are maintaining the hugely straightforward arrangements for recycling dry waste, which will continue to be processed at a state-of-the-art facility in Milton Keynes. Together, the new contracts save local taxpayers a massive £6.9 million over their six-year period.

I am committed to continuing our protection weekly collections, placing Bedford Borough Council amongst a minority of authorities which still collect black bin waste each week. Instead of forcing unwanted fortnightly collections on households, I believe the Council should be working with people to boost recycling, for example through better facilities at blocks of flats, or our introductionof new materials such as batteries to the already extensive list of items collected.

We have reviewed collection routes for the first time in over ten years to make sure they are as efficient and cost-effective as possible. This will bring big savings for the taxpayer. It may mean your collection day will change, so please look out for more information in the leaflet which will be coming through your door, or visit www.bedford.gov.uk/bins. And don't forget to recycle the leaflet!